When the McLean Mill Society took over control of the McLean Mill Historic Park, part of their vision involved more events, including private bookings, weddings and corporate retreats, as well as school excursions and an expanded season.
The mill has hosted three weddings so far, and has a few softly booked for next season.
Executive director Deanna Beaudoin said she is hoping to eventually host one per month.
“It’s doubled in interest already,” she said. “There’s been so much traction already.”
She said a lot of the interest came after pictures from the first wedding event showed up online. One of their wedding photos went viral, and prompted a number of interested calls.
Beaudoin and events coordinator Rachelle Collette worked over the summer and fall to transform the mill site into a magical wedding venue. They said they have seen both locals and people from out of town booking weddings at the historic park.
“It’s been a good combination of both,” said Beaudoin.
Collette added that much of the interest comes from people who grew up in Port Alberni and moved away.
Weddings make use of the whole park, from a picturesque ceremony at Old Town, to a reception at the Mill Village, catered by the mill’s head chef.
“It makes it a destination wedding,” said Collette. “It has a very Port Alberni feel.”
Visitors even have use of the train and railway when renting the venue.
“The train is the coolest part,” said Beaudoin. “We’re making it more accessible to guests. You get to have your own private, chartered train for a day.”
Guests will even receive a train ticket with a stamp of the wedding date on it as a souvenir.
“It’s a magical event,” said Beaudoin.
Along with the weddings, McLean Mill has also hosted two family reunions, three corporate events and a high school reunion, all of which have gone well, according to Beaudoin.
To book an event, or to check out some of the mill’s upcoming events, you can check out McLean Mill’s new and improved website at mcleanmill.ca.